Kwan's latest novel is an Asian American spin on E.M. Forster’s 'A Room With A View'
Described as an Asian American take on E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View, Kwan’s new novel is a departure from Crazy Rich Asians.
When Kwan’s publisher asked him to do a Crazy Rich Asians 4, the Asian American author said he wanted “to do something totally different with different characters and different worlds.”
Kwan completed the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy in 2017 with Rich People Problems being the finale.
Sex And Vanity focuses on mixed-race Asian American Lucie Tang Churchill who comes from an upper-class family who battles two lovers and two cultures.
For Kwan, Churchill’s mixed-race was a crucial element of her character.
“I felt that it was very relevant to the time and is very relevant to what is happening in America now,” Kwan said. “So many friends and family members are “hapa” [partially of Asian or Pacific Islander descent] and they have so many different challenges depending on who their family is and what kind of values their parents instilled in them.”
Although Sex And Vanity bares no relation to Crazy Rich Asians, Kwan drew a parallel to Churchill’s family to the Youngs from Singapore.
“Her family, the Churchills, are very much like the Youngs of Singapore,” he said. “They are in this bubble of privilege that is very different from the rest of America, so she has to play by the rules of this very old guard society.”
“For most Americans, very few people care about breeding or what your family background is. That is just so archaic. But Lucie’s family is this old WASPy family where all of these rules still matter.”
Kwan also revealed that Churchill’s experience of being “too Asian” in her world was inspired from his own life.
“I think everyone has these experiences growing up here as immigrants from Asia,” he said. “I felt like I always walked this tightrope in terms of how I had to present myself in order to survive and not be racially stereotyped.”
Sex And Vanity is released on Tuesday 30 June.
Last month, Kwan said he was “disgusted” by a scam involving the Crazy Rich Asians sequel.